Explore the city
Day or night, Vancouver is a busy and beautiful city. You can go on a wale watching tour or ride in a float plane to give yourself a bird’s eye view of the city below. You can head to the park, the mountains or the microbrewery on Granville Island. If you don’t want to do anything at all you can grab a picnic and head to the beautiful Kitsilano Beach.
If you need to shop, head to Robson Street and the nearby Pacific Center Mall for international brands, or the hipster-filled Gas Town for more quirky independent stores. Gas Town is also a great place for a late night drink, as is Granville Street around the backpacker-filled Beaver Bar. You can find some amazing places to eat that give you the best views of the harbour.
Stanley Park is probably my favourite part of Vancouver. This 1001 acre public park is a world away from the busy city streets on an island almost completely surrounded by the ocean. You can walk, jog, skate, roller blade or cycle along the sea wall and stop off at one of the beaches or attractions along the way.
The inland trails are patrolled by Mounties, who offer guided tours of the stables, you can also approach them to request a Collector’s Trading Card. There is also a a ride-able miniature railway and the impressive Vancouver Aquarium, definitely worth a visit. There is also a few lakes and gardens to explore, as well as tennis courts, a pitch and putt golf course and swimming pool by the sea.
Scared of heights?
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most popular activities in Vancouver, if a little pricey. This 140 meter long bridge crosses 70 meters above the Capilano River. There is also a Treetops Adventure Course, a new cliff walk and plenty of trails and gardens to explore. Tickets are $37.95.
If you want a free adventure then catch a local bus out to the equally beautiful but much quieter Lynn Canyon Park. This municipal park has it’s own suspension bridge 50 meters above the valley floor and was used in the new Disney film Descendants, as well as nearby locations being used in Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis.
If you are short on time or can’t afford a trip to Whistler then you can still get your powder fix on Grouse Mountain. It’s much smaller in comparison, but it’s great fun and you can even enjoy night skiing there. Except when it’s pouring with rain and freezing cold, then it’s not so much fun… speaking from experience… Day passes are only $58.
In the summer you can enjoy the trails on the mountain along with activities like ziplining, disc golf and the unique ‘Eye of the Wind’, the world’s first and only wind turbine that allows you to stand in a clear glass pod at the top of the tower with incredible views.
I hate to say it… but my favourite part about visiting Vancouver was driving over Lions Gate Bridge knowing that I’d be in Whistler 2 hours later. Back in the mountains, home sweet home.
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